Tag Archives: abuse

4 Keys to Learning to Trust Again

“Trust” has come up a lot lately, with clients, students, prospects, and with myself.

For example, one client recently had to face the fact she didn’t trust she could make major changes in her life, her health, her family, friend, and associate relationships, and in her business.

One student admitted she has a go-to response of skepticism and wondering what someone’s ulterior motive is.

One of my Periscope followers didn’t trust there could be a result other than failure if she tried to do something big, new, and powerful in her life.

Trust is “photobombing” my mind as I have some things going on in my life that are forcing me to face where I stand with it.

Does anyone not have trust issues? Has anyone not had their trust broken?

Romantic Trust Issues Are Like Every Other Trust Issue

Probably the biggest area for trust with me right now is with men and potential romantic interests.

A couple of months ago, I started receiving some male attention from about three people out of the blue in the same week. One I thought was platonic. One I thought was interested in me. One I had no idea if he was interested or not. It didn’t matter if I knew the motivation, just the idea that I was attracting new male attention of any kind was too much for me.

I literally laid in bed for two days depressed—I couldn’t handle the fear it evoked. Even with all of the personal development work I have done, it still got to me.

This is the power of broken trust when it is still lingering.

Remember, not that long ago, I was in a marriage with a guy who displayed multiple personality-type behavior—I quit counting at 150 personas, and one time he told me he was “more aware of it” than he let on, which means possibly HE, not some obscure personality sexually assaulted me, HE told me I was destroying him while in the next breath through another “personality” HE begged me to never give up on him, not to mention the other incidences which were already considered to have been done by the “main personality” anyway—he choked me, he cheated on me, he used me in humiliating scenarios in texts with other women, and he manipulated me.

…Until I had a major breakthrough and got out of that bizarre and twisted situation.

Even though I got out, the effects of having been there too long (even having been there at all) were in me. It was too late, I was going to have to deal with them. Some, like certain types of abuse triggers, didn’t even start coming up until more recently.

Since then, I’ve had a couple of relationships where I gained a renewed view of men, and learned a lot about myself. For one, I am capable of trusting.

The Desire to Trust vs. the Need to Justify the Pain

One of those relationships was with an amazing guy who treated me with great respect. Fights (really just disagreements and discussions) NEVER crossed lines, and I really appreciated rediscovering that not all men were abusive monsters.

Even so, after having been mistreated, cheated on and lied to so extensively, I periodically found myself wanting to sneak a peak at his phone so I could know for sure he was not acting inappropriately. I can honestly say, and he knows this as well, in my effort to be honest and transparent, that I never once gave in to that temptation. He never gave me any red flags. I had to trust that. He didn’t hide anything, he didn’t ever act suspicious, and he loved me.

While all of that helped tremendously, ultimately, my desire to have a healthy relationship built on trust was stronger than my need to have my pained past run the show. That right there is the hardest part and the first key.

Be Okay with Being Wrong

Do I know FOR SURE he didn’t do anything I would find questionable or inappropriate? No. But I have to trust in what I know of his character and how well he treated me, even if someday I find out I was wrong.

How can I be okay with that?

Because there is no other way.

This is the next key—be okay with being wrong. You can’t know everything. You have to trust. Trust your belief system, trust your business partners, trust your family and friends. Place trust where you need, and know that someday one (or more) of those may fail you, and be okay with that too.

Operate from the Empowered Place of “Choice”

Not too long ago, I attracted the attention of another man. This is coming up for me daily. His big thing is “being present” which is great, because it helps me take his lead and be more open and present as well. Every day I have to think about who I am, what I want, and eliminate the what ifs.

What if he’s manipulating me too? What if he’s got an ulterior motive? What if I’m stupid for trusting? What if? What if? What if?

I defer back to my desire to have something healthy and trust. I defer back to my peace with being wrong.

So, what if I do find out my fears are true? What if he is trying to manipulate me or does have an ulterior motive? What if I feel like an idiot for not catching on sooner?

Or what if it simply ends today with no explanation?

I don’t know what I don’t know. How can I? I am okay with that.

In any case, I can leave and deal with it. I’ll be sad for a minute then move on because I am approaching this from an empowered place of choice, rather than a needy place of trying to get him to fill a void within me.

If I want to be open to any healthy possibilities with him or anyone else, I have to trust. I have to trust my intuition, and the absence of red flags thus far. I have to be honest with myself if any concerns come up.

That’s trust in relationships, and the same exact keys apply in all other areas.

Trusting When Sales or MLMs are Involved

Just yesterday, an acquaintance on Facebook from high school messaged me with a link to an MLM (Multi-Level Marketing company) out of the blue.

How would you have reacted? Ignore it? Say, “No thanks, I’m not interested”? Roll your eyes and complain to other friends about the annoyances of people trying to sell you MLM products, services, and business opportunities?

I get it, my very first reaction was annoyed, but then I stepped back and thought, “No, she is a real person and so am I. I am going to treat her like a real person.” It only took an instant for that thought to come in and my decision to act on it changed everything within me on a dime. Already my own experience was better because I was suddenly not annoyed anymore. I made it about her and not me.

I was familiar with this particular MLM and I said something in all honestly to how I think it’s a great thing and cool for her to be spreading the word. We had a little conversation and she ended up asking me for tips, which surprised me. I told her I have a lot of tips for people trying to stretch and grow themselves and referred her to a free offering on my coaching web site, and when she noticed I am a DVSA survivor, she spoke up with gratitude about that as well.

In the end, I felt good that I attempted to live up to my purpose in life to bless others, even in the most basic sense of simply being kind.

A similar thing happened last week with another person. I had also reacted to her outreach person to person and ended up offering to interview her on Periscope since she’s local. I don’t know if she will take me up on that or not, but she is passionate about her product, its results and helping people, so that’s a great thing, right?! Of course it is.

My experience (see that—MY experience… we are each in control of how we experience circumstances, situations, and others) with people in MLMs is so much more pleasurable because I am being honest and treating them like real people. It takes the pressure off both of us.

I am not worried in the least about them “selling me” because, hey, we’re just having a conversation. I won’t buy or do anything I don’t want because I’m operating from that “empowered by choice” place, and I feel great, and they probably do to, having me not bring in preconceived notions (i.e. trust issues) about what they might be doing.

Start Learning to Trust Again

If you relate to these examples around trust or to the client, student, or follower examples from the opening, then set aside a little bit of time tonight.

Ask yourself these questions, then decide to embody the keys, summarized below.

  1. Why you are reacting this way?
  2. What benefit are you getting from not trusting?
    (Do not skip this one… no matter how awful something is, if we are continuing to allow it, it is because of some subconscious benefit to us, even if that benefit is something like “to keep me safe from getting hurt again” or “to keep me from success which is scarier to me than failure.”)
  3. What negative consequences are you experiencing from not trusting?
  4. Why you are willing to keep not trusting?
  5. What possibilities open up to you if you decide to trust?
    (Regardless of whether you later discover you were wrong.)

If you were really honest with yourself, I bet you discovered some insight you either didn’t know or wouldn’t admit prior to now. If not, ask yourself again or email me (Tanisha@TanishaMartin.com) to schedule a complimentary 15 minute session with me and I’ll help you raise your self-awareness.

Now what?

Take these keys to heart and reawaken your ability to trust:

  1. The desire to be healthy and trusting has to be stronger than the pain of the past.
  2. Be okay with being wrong.
  3. Operate from an empowered place of choice.
    (Rather than a place of needing to be filled. Rather than from a victim place of what others might do to you, whether break your heart or “try to sell” you.)
  4. Be honest with yourself.

If you are ready to really trust again, then this is the perfect time for you to get some extra support from me. My next Inner Circle coaching program starts soon, and you can still get the early bird rate. Check it out and register here: TanishaMartin.com/innercircle.

He Wanted to Shoot “Meatbag’s Wife,” aka Me

Jingle Bells Knocked Him Out

Jingle bells at his parents’ Christmas family gathering put him over the edge. He had to get out of there.

No, he wasn’t done with his parents, their relationship was fine. No, he wasn’t anti-Christmas, he loved the festivities. No, he didn’t hate music, he was amazing with the saxophone.

It was literally the bells. The jingles. The ringing. The little balls inside of a metal casing that bounce around and sent sound waves into Simon’s eardrums that raise the hair on his neck. The stimulus that made his blood cells rebel against the vibration and seek refuge out every orifice.

He tried to keep it together long enough for us to say goodbye without raising questions.

While frantically donning our coats, he whispered in my ear, “I’ve missed you so much!” It was no longer Adrian, with whom I had spent the evening, but my beloved Vaslir, whom I hadn’t had the pleasure of spending time with in a while!

We were right smack dab in the middle of our year and a half period I call The Personality Explosion, where my ex-husband’s multiple-personality type behavior was in the thick of its bizarreness.

My wonderful Adrian had quietly slipped away, obviously because he could no longer withstand the bells’ stimuli.

At least I could look forward to the rest of the night with Vaslir. It could have been anyone. He told me time seemed to still be frozen inside, he could still move, but his guards’ bodies were frozen. The inside world as we knew it was changing again, and we had no idea if it was to Simon’s benefit, or if he was getting worse.

(Simon is his given name [which I have changed, to give me more freedom in writing my experiences], and the name we used to identify the original personality, as well as the collective whole.)

Just as suddenly as Vaslir had appeared an oddly uncertain, yet forthright girl was suddenly sitting in the passenger seat. A new voice, a new demeanor possessed my husband’s body.

She Forgave Me for Being Born with Brown Eyes

She didn’t know who I was, why she was in this strange machine speeding through a city of magical lights that mocked her ignorance. She was both in awe and frightened.

Aria came from an Aryan nation in Simon’s inside world where it is “only proper to live underground or in tents.” We didn’t even know there was an Aryan nation in there. In his mind was a world of peoples, governments, monsters, mountains, oceans, deserts. We knew about main personalities’ fortresses, including Simon, the original personality’s white one, Sixclaw’s red one, and Legion’s black obsidian one. We knew about the Children of Anya, the City of Emotions, Etis Yim’s vampiric clan, and various pop culture icons like the Arbiter from Halo®, known to us as Jozale, the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, and the pirate Demon, aka Inigo Montoya, and various Transformers®.

We had never heard reference of this nation before, nor would we ever again after this encounter. She said she was of the “one true race” and I was one of “them” who hunted her people. There were also machines with dyed hair and blue contacts sometimes succeeded in their massacres, by virtue of their deception.

She paused her reflection and looked at me with scrutiny. “It’s not your fault you were born with brown eyes, though. I forgive you.”

What do you say to that? I went with a simple “Thank you.”

I listened to her express gratitude that she was God’s chosen people, the only ones to whom he has imparted knowledge. I countered that Heavenly Father loves all of his diverse children.

I learned that her own father has never revealed his name to her or her brother, Arian, who has a special purpose she has yet to learn. She was excited that for Christmas in two days, as they would receive three gifts—a leader, an assassin, and a warrior.

I made a mental note of everything she said so I could record it later in the journals I kept of everything that happened with the personalities, in case there were clues to solving the mystery of Simon. I always maintained hope for healing and answers.

I told her a little bit about Simon and his mind from whence she came. Sometimes that wasn’t very well received. I can’t imagine waking up in a strange place with a strange woman, relocating me somewhere, and hear her explain I am part of her husband’s inside world in his mind.

Even though I was in the fast lane of the freeway, I couldn’t get us home fast enough when she began demanding I let her out of the car. No one had ever done something so dangerous as leave a moving vehicle, but she was brand new, and I had no idea what she was capable of. The doors were locked and I kept calm, reassuring her I’d let her out as soon as we got home.

We didn’t make it that far when she slipped away. It sometimes happened quietly other times accompanied with violent lurching. The latter usually occurred when more than one personality was fighting for control.

He Wanted to Shoot Meatbag’s Wife, aka Me

In this case Simon’s eyes closed, and when they opened again, his entire body slumped over like a giant wooden puppet who had no hope of completing his transition into a real boy. I had to push him back to the passenger side after making a sharp right turn in our neighborhood.

This was new. I wondered if with Vaslir’s time being frozen, some of that was spilling out into the real world. It turned out to be unrelated. I never knew which pieces affected the others. The puzzle was wide and some pieces random.

“Who is it?” That was always the first order of business. You could put that phrase on his tombstone.

No response. “Look at me.”

He turned his head. “Okay, good, so you are aware. Who are you?”


“Are you ok? Do you know me?” With personality changes, we always established first who he was, and second whether or not he was familiar with me and the outside world.

Still nothing.

“Can you move? You turned your head a moment ago. Can you blink a response?”

He remained still. I was baffled. My failed attempts at interaction continued long after I parked the car in our driveway. He wasn’t moving, speaking, or blinking as suggested. He wasn’t doing anything, but remained completely limp, no matter how uncomfortable he appeared to be.

I began devising a backup plan. Who could I call to at least help me get him into the house? My mom? His family? 

We generally tried to keep the weirdness between us, as it was just too hard for others to even comprehend what we were living through. I couldn’t comprehend it, and I was right there. He didn’t get enough counseling help over our time together to really dig into it, but he was told by one counselor he didn’t have textbook Multiple-Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder, and that he was simply delusional. Whatever that means. To me, it made no difference. I’ll never know what was really happening with him, all I know is what I experienced.

A monotone, slow and deliberate, mid-range voice finally spoke. “Waiting instructions.”

Through trial and error, I finally figured out he would obey commands.

“Get out of the car, please.” His movements were stiff and awkward.

“Walk with me to the house.” When we got to the porch, he stood within inches of the screen door. I opened it, because obviously reasonable people will move out of the way, but he still didn’t move when it touched him. I had to tell him to move out of the way.

I let him go ahead of me into the house, but he stopped just inside and I had to tell him to go in further so I could enter.

I still didn’t know who I was dealing with, but I knew I had never seen this yet. I had been sexually assaulted by a new personality, Animal. I had had an attempted sexual assault by another new one, a pirate, and had been saved by Etis Yim, who we had previously considered an enemy. I had met werewolves and slave girls, mutes and musicians, assassins and wizards. Even Simon’s nine-year-old self had spent a week with me. I thought I’d pretty much seen it all. How there could still be completely unique scenarios blew my mind. Whether it was all real or contrived, the only thing I could conclude was that Simon was a genius.

“Are you ok? Do you want to take off your shoes?” No response. Right, because I didn’t give a command.

“Take off your shoes.” They were removed.

I noticed that if I wait a little between commands, he relaxed slightly, but when I start to speak again, he straightens up, ready to perform.

Suddenly he moved on his own—it appeared to be systematic twitches—nose, eye, ear, nose, eye, ear. Repeat.

“What is your name?”


“Tell me what your name is.”


“Tell me what HK means.” Nothing. Okay, let’s try… “Tell me what HK stands for.”

“Hunter Killer.”

I remembered that Aria had just told me machines were hunting her people. Maybe this is related? Simon also had a video game with a droid that had the HK designation.

“Tell me, what is your purpose?”

“HK is designed to conquer. The HK will rule the world.” In our conversation, he didn’t know the term “droid,” but said he was a “warbot.”

“Tell me, who is your leader?”

“Galactus.” Never heard of him. He could have been referencing a Marvel® character, whom I was unfamiliar with at the time, but he never came up again, so it didn’t seem to matter.

It was late and I wanted to get more comfortable. Sitting on the bed was a common place for these encounters, so I moved us along.

“Let’s go into the bedroom.” No response. Right, I keep messing that up. “Go into the bedroom.” HK723 walked straight and determined. He didn’t even step over or around the stack of puzzles that were in the way on the floor. He just bulldozed through them, scattering them across the floor.

He stopped just inside the doorway, blocking my way into the room. “Walk closer, to the bed.” He went right up to the corner of the bed, touching it with his legs—it seemed unnatural and uncomfortable, as it made him lean awkwardly to stay on his feet. I stifled my laughter and had him sit down on the bed in front of the dresser mirror so I could tell him about Simon, and who I am. I would inquire periodically, “Tell me if you understand,” to which he usually said, “Affirmative.”

Other times he said, “Confusion,” “Insufficient information,” “Irrelevant,” etc. He also established that he has no feelings, feels no pain, and his likes and dislikes are irrelevant.

“We want peace for Simon. Tell me, do you know what peace is?”


For some odd reason, I wasn’t convinced a Hunter Killer robot would have the same definition of peace we have. “Tell me what peace is.”

“Peace is the absence of aggressive maneuvers.” Okay, that’s a start… I think…

I explained a little further about how we want peace and happiness. “Tell me if you understand.”

This time, he twitched like he’s processing. “Confusion. Purged.”

“Tell me, what does “purged” mean?”

“Data would not compute. Removed data from system.”

Okay, how much data got dumped? I reestablished he did indeed remember talking about peace.

“Tell me, do you understand who Simon is?”

“Affirmative, Simon is Meatbag.”

Huh. He sees us as “meatbags”—I guess that makes sense from the perspective of a literal-thinking machine. “Tell me, do you understand who I am?”


“Tell me who I am.”

“You are Meatbag’s wife.” I snorted. Then immediately recomposed myself—I still didn’t know for sure if I was safe with HK723, why he was here, and what his intentions were.

Through my interrogation, I discovered that before he found himself in the car with me, he was in the inspection room being evaluated by Chief Scientist Paluwa and various other meatbags. He had no standing orders, thus must await specific orders each time. Yeah, I got that. And he was the 3rd most recent unit created.

I began running out of questions. “Tell me, what are you thinking.”

“HK 723 requests permission to act as will.” Probably best not to go there…

“Tell me, if I granted permission, what you would do?”

“HK 723 desires to shoot.” We had no guns, so I knew this wouldn’t play out literally. We did have nerf guns, though, and he had a plethora of PC and XBOX shooter games. Oh, and that realistic-looking black plastic toy gun within his reach on the dresser…

“Tell me what you will shoot.”

“HK 723 desires to shoot Meatbag.”

“Tell me, do you mean Meatbag [indicating him] or Meatbag’s wife [indicating me]?”

“HK 723 desires to shoot Meatbag’s wife.” Yeah, no.

“Tell me why.”

“Meatbags are inferior.”

“Tell me if you want to use that gun on the dresser.” Luckily he was still obeying his programming, so I wasn’t too alarmed. It seemed like just another game Simon’s mind was playing and I wasn’t in any real danger.

“Affirmative.” To which, I explained that the gun was a toy and not real. His face displayed moderate confusion and disappointment. I told him I liked him, but shooting people isn’t nice and doesn’t bring peace, although there are times when we have to defend ourselves.

He suddenly, violently flipped over on the bed. I asked him to tell me if he was ok. He said they were using some type of ion blast against him. He flipped over two more times. He became still and I heard another voice talking through his mouth.

“Stupid droid wouldn’t respond.”

By this point in our dramatic relationship, I was well aware that when someone was in control of Simon’s body, their persona inside was as if asleep. It wasn’t too hard to figure out the inspectors were having trouble with this “dead” droid.

The voice was clearly engaged in a conversation, but I was only hearing his side of it.

“Space it.”

“At least the other 4 worked.”

“When will the new batch be done?”


“Such a pity some of them malfunction—beautiful creatures.”

“I’ll rename the next one 723 so that we can have a sequence of numbers without having to worry about it.”

“Wonderful contraptions.”

“Wake me in five hours when the President’s here.”

Then Simon’s body turned over once more, and curled up as if to sleep. I was about to try to talk to HK723 again and make sure he was okay, but Alain, a downed mech-fighter pilot I had first met months ago, came out instead.

Relief—I was back to someone I knew and loved. I tried to keep track of all of the personalities and their stories, as we pieced together the fractured pieces of Simon. Alain and I had a short discussion about a possible duplicate “Alain” I had met recently, but we didn’t get far before Adrian returned to take Simon over again.


He was stuck in darkness inside, watching my conversation with Alain as if on a screen. He did not have the pleasure of access to my odd interaction with HK723, but he laughed as I filled him in.

At least those few hours inside gave him a chance to fully recover from the jingle bells fiasco.

Confident he was solidly in control, we went to sleep, and enjoyed spending exclusive time with each other over the next two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Being Responsible TO Vs. FOR Others

There’s much more to the story, and I will at other times share more of the abuse parts, but my purpose here was to illustrate a typical evening, giving some insight into the concept of having compassion and feeling responsible for someone. He was obviously sick in some way, and I loved him.

Here was this handsome, fun, loving man, who had a lot of other serious problems, but the personality issue overrode everything else. We were in this phase of constant switching and dealing with attacks on the inside. On top of my compassion for him, it made me feel important.

He trusted me with this part of him. Some personalities that showed up initially as evil and cruel, fell in love with me and turned out to be some of the greatest internal leaders for peace. He showed me how much he relied on me, how much good I was doing him.

I was the keeper of all the clues. He didn’t even know what was going on. He was the common denominator in his subconscious realm, and I was the common denominator in the conscious realm.

But David Neagle, my favorite coach, always reminds us that we are responsible TO our loved ones, friends, clients, students, etc., but not FOR them (except in the case of minor children, obviously).

This was a hard lesson for me to learn and contributed to my finding myself being physically abused and sexually assaulted and manipulated by him, which increased over time. I mentioned a sexual assault above, but it having been at the hands of a new personality, it was easy to make it about him and his personality problem, while completely glossing over the fact that I was assaulted and scared.

It all started with him needing help, with him needing my love and support so he could function, or at least have the best hope of functioning.


Now I fully understand and subscribe to David’s teaching that I am responsible to, not for. I finally get what it means to be a healthy person engaging in a friendship or relationship with another healthy person. I am happy. My confidence has grown. My self-respect showed up suddenly and slapped me in the face, giving me the power to leave him.

Someone in need, with problems, or with a sad past, is not and never will be a good enough reason to be hurt and abused by them, no matter what.


If you relate to being needed, but suspect (or know) you are not being treated decently, I hope the distinction between TO and FOR will help you. And please seek clarity and assistance from professional resources. Some local and national are listed here.

If you are trying to rebuild your life after having been through a hard circumstance, whether abuse-related or not, you may find a healing boost in this free video series, or support in moving forward in a big way through my next group coaching program.

You are not alone.

50 Shades of Grey and Love Balloons at Cinemark

50 Shades of Grey at Cinemark on Valentine’s Day—Make Love, not Abuse

Only one person flipped us off.

The vast majority of passersby honked, waved, or gave a thumbs up! We were not out there a minute when the first car that passed us honked in support.

Within five minutes, the coolest thing happened that solidified the tone of love for the rest of the hour and a half we stood at the corner of Cinemark’s south entrance and Tutt Blvd., displaying messages to raise awareness and show our support of love, not abuse.

Tanisha ~ Ask me about REAL LIFE with


Ask me about REAL LIFE with “CHRISTIAN GREY”

MANIPULATED consent is not the same as CONSENT

How do you define ABUSE?
(control, humiliation, force, unsympathetic, coercion, intimidation, manipulation, threats, jealousy, violence)

“Kinks” & “prudes” AGREE… ABUSE is not SEXY

FREE HUGS from a DVSA survivor

My original intent with my friend Phyllis was to stand closer to the movie theater so we could create dialogue with moviegoers on foot, but security asked me to leave before she even arrived. I wasn’t interested in causing a scene, and Phyllis ended up having to work anyway, so the first attempt on Friday, February 13, was a bust.

On Saturday, my friend Julie and I met and tried again, this time by the street. Security drove through the back parking lot several times, but let us be.

Julie ~ FREE HUGS from a DVSA survivor

In that hour and a half, we didn’t create direct dialogue, but our message did get noticed.

One lady rolled down her window and profusely thanked us for taking a stand. A few people wouldn’t make eye contact or let us see them check out our signs. Others craned their neck to continue reading as their driver made the turn out of the drive onto Tutt.

For all the women who couldn’t wait to see the movie, there are so many more people of all genders and ages who were either already against it or now have something to seriously think about.

Tanisha ~ How do you define ABUSE?

We are not alone.

The highlight within the first five minutes that set the tone?

On this light, breezy Valentine’s Day, the most awesome guy ever approached us in a truck filled with red heart-shaped helium balloons and gave one to each of us. His three (or five!) point turn around in the entrance to get back where he came from, told us we were appreciated—that he made a special trip just for us.

As victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and manipulation ourselves, we tied our love balloons to each other’s wrists and prepared to take our stand.



Click here to learn more about why we are boycotting 50 Shades of Grey in favor of donating to a local DVSA (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault) shelter instead.

My Story

(WARNING – graphic content and potential trigger.) Read part of my personal story as it relates to 50 Shades here.

Get Help—Resources

See local and national resources here.

I Woke Up: “This is How Husbands Accidentally Kill Their Wives”

*Trigger warning*

*Please see disclaimer at sidebar*

I Didn’t Defend Myself Because I Didn’t See Myself in a “Real” Domestic Violence Situation

I quit fighting back. Though I never really “fought” in the first place.

He took to choking me to get me to “shut up.” At first I would fight to get free, but never “to the death,” though, as I imagined I would fight much harder against someone I believed intended to permanently harm or even kill me. Even though I was a black belt in kung fu, it was never easy to get his hands off my neck, because there was this mental block about the love we had and not hurting him. He was my husband and even though he had choked me to the point of convulsing a couple of times or blacking out for just a split-second, I believed he didn’t intend actual harm. The dynamics feel very complex to you when you are in it. (Although I see the whole situation very differently today.)

It always ended up hurting me more and aggravating him more if I fought the choking, anyway, so I eventually quit. I would just stand there against the wall, perfectly still and calm and let him choke me. There came a point where I felt so trapped in our situation (other issues were worse to me than this) that I actually welcomed the thought of dying… until it became real.

The last time he choked me, it got to the point where I HAD TO BREATH. I had been standing there still, waiting for him to stop, and I hit that point of almost no return where I needed oxygen NOW! I came to life and began slapping him and pounding his arm and shoulders with my fists to get him to let go. After an instant longer, he did let go. …And I woke up. It hit me for the first time that “this is how husbands accidentally kill their wives.” I believed, and still do, that he had no intention of hurting me, not really, and certainly not of killing me, but for the first time I realized that death was a truly potential consequence of his actions.

I told him if he ever choked me again, I’d call the police. He did it again, and I called the police. I may have freaked out that I actually called them and hung up and threw the phone down, but I’m thankful that, as per 911’s guidelines, they called back and sent officers out. He never choked me again—it was almost a year between the time I called the police and we separated for the last time and filed for divorce.

It Feels Complicated, but it is Actually Simple…

There had been other physically violent issues, but the choking had become a habit, and it was the one situation that got me to wake up. The complicated feelings I experienced in that abusive situation, which I will go into more in other posts, could have been quieted if I had set them aside for a moment and simply looked at the reality of what was going on.

Regardless of any forgiveness, understanding, or compassion I gave him over his actions, and there were some pretty convincing factors in my eyes, he never had a right to choke me. I stayed in the hopes of improvement and helping him and a number of reasons, all with the ultimate goal of achieving happiness for each of us individually, and a healthy relationship together. I finally realized that nothing healthy—no healthy relationship—can come of unhealthy individuals who would choke their loved one, or who would allow their loved one to choke them. That is the truth. No amount of unique factors or compassion can change that truth.

Yes, the feelings, inspiration, love, and unique factors in circumstances matter, but the other truth also matters. It is imperative to take an honest look, discover the truth, and make choices accordingly. The first choice is to get help. You are not alone.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233
TESSA (Colorado Springs) (719) 633-3819